‘Baby hatches’ on the cards

Baby hatches are being considered after two abandoned babies were found in one week.

New South Wales is considering the possibility of installing baby hatches following the discovery of two abandoned babies in the space of one week.

The body of a baby girl was found buried beneath 30 centimetres of sand by two young boys at Maroubra Beach on Sunday morning. It was in such a decomposed state that autopsy results could not identify the age of the baby or the cause of death.

This grim finding comes only one week after the discovery of a baby boy by cyclists along the M7 at Quakers Hill in Sydney. In this case the baby survived in a drain for five days, and the mother has since been found and charged with attempted murder.

Both cases saw a large public outcry and prompted the NSW Government to consider several response options, including the installing of baby hatches.

Baby hatches are essentially places where people can bring babies, typically newborn, and leave them anonymously in the care of others.  Some countries, such as China, Austria and Germany already use baby hatches.

Read more at ABC.

 Opinion: Prevention the best treatment

The abandonment of two helpless babies has shaken a community and sparked a national public outcry. These are a shocking and saddening series of events, and both the abandoned babies and the mothers who felt desperate enough to commit the atrocious acts, should be pitied.

That a parent would abandon their baby, alive or dead, and dispose of the body in a secret place is surely a horrendous and terrifying act. And to any of us who cannot fathom doing so ourselves, the act is monstrous.

I don’t generally believe those who commit vile and hateful crimes should be treated with leniency. A person who commits grievous harm against another should be punished accordingly, and yet, in these two instances I feel sad that the mothers (and fathers) of these babies felt driven to act this way.

Abandoned babies in Australia are not very common, but there’s no doubt that when it happens, it is a grave and problematic issue. Two abandoned babies are two too many, and so we need to implement a strategy to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Since baby abandonment is illegal, with parents liable for prosecution, baby hatches provide a practical and safe way for struggling parents to give up their child, with the knowledge that it will be cared for and that they will not be charged with any criminal activity.

Of course, the very best solution to this issue begins with prevention. Perhaps we as a nation need to provide access to more adequate contraception, or education on the realities of parenting, pregnancy and childbirth.  One way or the other, the thing that is most clear to me about this issue is that our nation needs to focus on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of its people. We need better and more comprehensive mental health initiatives, which can be widely and freely accessible.

Healthy, happy people do not abandon babies in drains or bury them in the sand. If those mothers (and fathers) had access to supportive, encouraging services perhaps they would not have felt compelled to do what they did.

What do you think? Should these mothers be pitied or punished? Would baby hatches help the issue or simply lead to an increase in the number of abandoned babies?





    COMMENTS

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    Fiona
    3rd Dec 2014
    10:16am
    II wonder how many hatches you would need to have,. I'd think that abandoning a baby would be a spur of the minute decision by a terrified mother.
    Maybe punishment for leaving a baby could be removed and encouragement to leave it in a place it would be found quickly, or processes set up at hospitals to leave unwanted children there, prior to adoption?
    gillham
    3rd Dec 2014
    11:13am
    The first thing here is to remove infanticide from the statute. The second thing is to impose a mandatory life sentence for murdering your child (or any child). The third thing is for mothers who attempt murder by ditching their child down a drain and the child survives, then the child should be removed permanently from that mother and she should pay child support for the endurance of the child's life.

    Under those rules I'm sure we would not have 3 of these matters in the news in 1 week.

    Sorry, I forgot. Mothers are women aren't they so there will be some perfectly logical reason behind their actions which will excuse their abhorrent behaviour.
    Tinkerbell
    3rd Dec 2014
    11:57am
    You really are a nasty woman hater aren't you gillham...
    Don't forget, a man played a roll in the making of these unfortunate children. Where was the father or what did he do to cause the woman to act in this way.
    Baby hatches should not be required, if you don't want your child, adopt it out. There are too many childless couples desperate to adopt and too many unfit mothers keeping them or worst still, killing or dumping them. There is no excuse, it is not illegal or a punishable offense to adopt your out.
    Queensland Diva
    3rd Dec 2014
    12:01pm
    Wow, what a nasty piece of work you are gillham. You have nothing constructive to add to the conversation.
    gillham
    3rd Dec 2014
    12:11pm
    Tinkerbell, a man may have played a roll in the making of these children, then may be not. Women choose insemination to exclude men from the whole process.

    What did he do to make the woman act in this way. Of course it was a man's fault.

    Baby hatches. Do they collect any baby bonus beforehand?

    And Diva, I do have something to say if you can't see it. I'm saying make mothers accountable, but being women that is unlikely
    Polly Esther
    3rd Dec 2014
    1:57pm
    gillham:-I'm sorry but I find it extremely difficult to make any sense out of what you are trying to imply. I do however find quite a contradiction in what you say and I could be very wrong in my thoughts about you, but I am going to take a guess anyway. It sounds like this matter has maybe struck a chord somehow and is getting a little too close to something that perhaps happened somewhere in your life. You feel uncomfortable about something and please believe me my friend, there are many people only too willing to assist you if this is the case. I can only implore you to perhaps google help, telephone Lifeline, or contact the Black Dog Institute. Even your local Priest perhaps, just scream for help, and I wish you all the best of luck in what I think should be your endeavour to find inner peace.
    gillham
    3rd Dec 2014
    2:21pm
    To the Flying Doctor, No doubt your free consultation reflects its value.
    nan
    3rd Dec 2014
    11:42am
    Mothers should be able to leave their babies at the hospital or return the baby to the hospital. There are plenty people wanting to adopt. I feel sure the mothers don't want the baby dead, just don't want the baby.
    Idontforget
    3rd Dec 2014
    11:57am
    And in the consideration, will it extend to a 'baby hatch' in every town in NSW or will it be considered that the life of a small baby in the 'bush' does not compare to that of a small baby in bigger towns.
    Innyoo
    3rd Dec 2014
    12:01pm
    At any hospital would be the best place to make it legal for a parent to leave an infant.
    But that would raise issues of whether the parent would be seen, and forced to account for their actions, which they obviously would want to avoid..... there are lots of places the infant could be left safely already (church steps, centrelink, hotels, etc) where the baby would be soon found and cared for , so why a mother feels she needs to let her baby die is hard to imagine.
    Blossom
    3rd Dec 2014
    3:47pm
    Friends of ours who wewre known to care for babies/young children under some circumstances actually had a newborn baby dressed and wrapped in a blanket left on their front door step.
    Disco3
    3rd Dec 2014
    12:40pm
    God knows what is going on in a mothers head when she abandons her baby. She must (I suspect) be feeling terrible, unable to cope, ashamed, frightened etc. Its OK to talk about counselling but when you feel as the mother probably does, she is unlikely to seek help. I support having baby hatches - and any other strategy that helps the child to receive the care and love it needs. Gilham: you need to understand the turmoil and (probable) post natal depression that impact upon the mother's ability to reason.
    HOLA
    3rd Dec 2014
    4:10pm
    I read in the paper this woman was in a relationship and they broke up, he didn't know she was pregnant. Her family didn't suspect she was pregnant, they thought she was just putting on weight. Her family in Samoa knew nothing. I don't think it was post natal depression as she had it all worked out where she was going to dispose of the little one. I don't think she deserves to have another chance.
    Fred
    3rd Dec 2014
    12:42pm
    If a single mother has a child they should be given all the support required, including finding the father and making him pay.
    If they have a second child they should receive no benefits. One mistake can be permitted, two is taking advantage.
    This would sort out some of these second and third wives living off the taxpayer.
    Blossom
    3rd Dec 2014
    3:42pm
    What about when the Mum is pregnant the 2nd time by the same Dad before he does the disappearing act
    student
    6th Dec 2014
    9:45am
    Fred, I find your post very interesting. I agree the single mother (any mother) needs all the support (from family and society)that is required. However, I find your words

    " ... including finding the father and making him pay. ..."

    I feel this could be seen as being vindictive and not helpfull. If the father is off the scene, punishing him is not going to make a heathly and happy environment. I agree with you wholeheartedly that one mistake is permitted, but not two. If the mother is old enough to conceive then she is old enough to use the Pill if she is going to continue having sex. I am aware that a lot of 'unmarried' mothers are women who have children but have divorced the father. Yes the father (morally and legally) should pay or atleast contribute to the upkeep of his children.

    Maybe the change in societies attitude towards unmarried mothers has deminished or changed the responsibility for and moral worth of children. No longer does a young woman disappear from the neighbourhood for 12 months and then return completely changed. Everyone knows she disappeared to have a child out of wedlock. Nowadays,there is no shame in having a child out of wedlock. I am not saying that is wrong, but it shows how the accepted behaviour of females has changed. Being a drop-k*ck Dad is more accepted now as we tend to blame the female for being able to reproduce. It takes two, and it always has.

    My heart breaks when I try to imagine what these two young women must have been going through. Their actions show how desperate and confused they must have been. If we, as a society, can judge two young women so harshly, what must they have expected from their own flesh and blood, their own families ?????
    Judy in the hills
    3rd Dec 2014
    12:54pm
    Something certainly does need to be made available for the safe collection of unwanted babies. God knows there are so many who would give their eye teeth to have a child. We hear of horrific cases of child neglect, plus the two recent stories of tiny babies not being wanted and discarded. These tiny souls deserve to be looked after by some new parents who really, really want a child of their own. We would all know of someone whom at some time in their lives would have done anything to have a child.
    particolor
    3rd Dec 2014
    3:58pm
    Well I do !! But the System here makes it so Damned Hard for Them ???
    KSS
    3rd Dec 2014
    1:16pm
    gillham, I don't understand what you are saying: First you say remove infanticide from the statute, then you say impose a mandatory life sentence for killing your child.
    Then you assume that it is always the mothers that commit infanticide and that they alone should be punished. You justify this by saying that women undergo insemination. I would bet my last dollar that no woman choosing insemination would be taking such drastic action as abandoning her child.

    However, I also think that each case needs to be investigated thoroughly. I am sure there are women involved who have very tragic stories to tell and who would need care and support. I also have no doubt that there are others who are just simply rotten to the core - Kelli Lane comes to mind here. And finally there are men who just don't want the encumbrance of a child they created. Witness the recent cases of men who have shaken/punched/bashed the child of their partner because the baby wouldn't stop crying.

    To treat the issue as being very black and white is short sighted. And to heap sole responsibility and blame on the mother is to disregard any contributing factors.

    The mother of the baby in the drain had hidden her entire pregnancy even from her family. We don't know why she did that nor do we know why she eventually did what she did. She has been charged and the outcome will not be known for some time. As for the beach baby, we don't know how she died, who buried her or why. It just might have been the father who was responsible.

    We hear too frequently of babies being abandoned -fortunately they are generally left where they will be found safely. That is what makes these two cases so dreadful.
    Should there be baby hatches? Well where would you put them and how many? If they are not on every street corner people won't use them. Why? Because anyone in that frame of mind is not going to travel across town via public transport in the middle of the night to use it. So where then? Churches/temples/mosques? Hospitals/fire stations/? The local Woolworths?

    This whole situation requires calm, careful thought and consultation. It does not warrant an emotionally based knee-jerk reaction.
    gillham
    3rd Dec 2014
    1:50pm
    KSS,I'll go slowly for you. If you remove infanticide from the statute you remove the exemption card that infanticide provides for women. Therefore they will face charges of murder or watered down to manslaughter for which you could receive a life sentence if mandated.

    KSS it is only mothers that commit infanticide because that statute does not apply to fathers or men, it is gender specific. If fathers kill a child they will be charged with murder and rightly so, but women should also be accountable. If you are a punter you'll go broke betting your last dollar.

    Our statute has other similar exemption legislation for women such as battered wife syndrome. Can anyone give me a guarantee that women have not fabricated or contrived this legislation to kill their partners, gained ultimate revenge, scoop the pool with all assets rather than just 75%, and above all contaminate any evidence through the difficulty most men would have in mounting a defence from the grave. The point is KSS that no one is authorised to kill anyone else. It is the very tenant of our Society except that women have exceptions.

    'The mother of the baby in the drain' ? I'll bet she doesn't go to jail. Here's all women already saying she had mitigating reasons. She had options. Terminate the pregnancy. Allow the child to be adopted. Ask for help.

    Bottom line is KSS, it needs to be made patently clear to women that they are accountable. Not like under infanticide statutes (or battered wife syndrome for that matter). Not under current Social rules where women can do anything and are never accountable.

    A father doing similar IS accountable and pays the price.
    KSS
    3rd Dec 2014
    1:59pm
    No need to be rude to me gillham, I was not rude in my response to you. Just because you seem to have issues with women does not give you the right to be abusive.
    gillham
    3rd Dec 2014
    2:16pm
    KSS all I can say is that it is irritating that you tried to belittle what I had said, with selective ignorance. I have no doubt that you were aware of what I was saying. I do have issues with people that seek unwarranted special treatment and are successful in obtaining it, then milk it for all it's worth. Just that women have refined it to an art form. Society does not have the fortitude to be objective with women and their exclusive treatment, so the show goes on.
    student
    6th Dec 2014
    10:12am
    gill, I can not see how

    "... . I do have issues with people that seek unwarranted special treatment and are successful in obtaining it, then milk it for all it's worth. Just that women have refined it to an art form. ..."

    relates to the topic being discussed. There is NO way I can ever believe these two young women deliberately fell pregnant so they could 'milk the system'. Males ( certainly NOT men)seemed to have perfected the art of ensuring the continuation of their race without their accepting responsibility of the upkeep of such continuation. As for the 'baby in the drain ' .... she wass charged with attempted murder because she said she was aware the child could die, or words to that effect. I would love to see a copy of the questions posed to her. I honestly doubt she deliberately put the baby into the drain in the hope it would die. Asking questions a certain way can produce the answers wanted.

    Maybe it's time we consider what we have thrown out in our morals and standards and make amendments. I say bring in the baby hatchers (what quaint and soft words )
    Adrianus
    6th Dec 2014
    10:34am
    Student, maybe you just see the good in everyone. I do too until they give me reason to think otherwise.
    If a mother, or father, leave their child for someone else to care for then I can have some empathy. However, what sort of person would leave a child to be eaten alive by rats?
    Old Fella
    3rd Dec 2014
    1:49pm
    Baby halches are by far a better alternative to funeral plots. Any mother driven to abandon their child is more to be pitied than mocked and punished by the community.
    particolor
    6th Dec 2014
    12:01pm
    TRUE !!
    Corbs
    3rd Dec 2014
    2:03pm
    Totally agree KSS. Each situation would need to be assessed individually and there simply would not be enough hatches around the country. My thoughts are that new mums especially are not given sufficient time in hospital after the birth of their child to adjust. The whole extended family is very often non existent in this era and there is not enough support. It can be overwhelming to say the least for a new and perhaps all mums coping with the birth of a child. Nurses are sent to homes to check on mum and baby in the first few days but perhaps this is not sufficient. An army of volunteer grannies checking on those most vulnerable even by telephone daily for a period of time may be an answer. It is a difficult situation but I don't think that any woman would go through an entire pregnancy with the thought that when they delivered they would deliberately try to harm their child. Empathy is what is needed not punishment. Yes they dumped their babies in the most cruel of ways but I am sure that there is more to it than we will ever know and who are we to judge.
    AlbertC
    3rd Dec 2014
    3:30pm
    that baby that was found by those kids .it would not surprise me if the woman or girl who gave birth was of Islamic faith and possible a male would have been the one to kill the child and possibly the the mother they are fanatics about their women giving birth out of wedlock have a nice day.
    student
    6th Dec 2014
    10:18am
    what a horrid post. I have never read such vile in this before. To people of all faiths and those of none, I sincerely apologise for this racist and untrue post.
    Adrianus
    6th Dec 2014
    10:41am
    student, while AlbertC has expressed an opinion that is disagreeable to some, it is definitely not racist. He did not mention a race did he?
    particolor
    6th Dec 2014
    12:08pm
    None the less ! We wont point fingers at a Case as Tragic as this !! Could have been anyone not having a Good think about the Circumstances and Repercussions ! ITS SAD !!
    Adrianus
    6th Dec 2014
    12:37pm
    Yes, it is tragic. And my hope is that it doesn't become normal behaviour. Let's remember that the child is the victim. Put down the drain with other waste and only saved from being eaten by rats for the astute hearing of passers by. That says very emphatically, I not only don't love you, I also don't want you to exist. I hope nobody ever tells this poor little kid!! This subject is a bit too close to home I'm afraid. So point away particolor!
    particolor
    3rd Dec 2014
    3:54pm
    Will the be Big Enough to place an Unwanted Politician in ? I sure there are a lot of people Who would Love to Adopt one ?? Raise and Educate them ?? Away from the Public Ti..ER Purse !!.
    Put one in every Electorate !!
    Mar
    3rd Dec 2014
    5:45pm
    Disco 3, Thank goodness for your compassion and understanding. There are many issues going on for mothers who do this.They need help, treatment and support to understand what has happened and to make sure it will never happen again. It's good to see most comments are compassionate and helpful. There should be much more awareness given and highlighting of the options that can help, before terrified, depressed or mentally ill mothers resort to this.
    Mar
    3rd Dec 2014
    5:47pm
    Gillham, all I can say to you is get help!
    gillham
    3rd Dec 2014
    8:03pm
    Mar, I can't see where anyone has refuted what I have said. It's just that the truth hurts and women do not like it. Get responsible and accountable.
    student
    6th Dec 2014
    10:20am
    w o w .....easy to see where your opinions come from, gill.
    Mar
    3rd Dec 2014
    5:49pm
    Good on you Old Fella.
    Doggy Di
    3rd Dec 2014
    6:11pm
    Yes, Fiona, I agree with your sentiments. It astounds me, that in an era and country where contraception AND "de-sexing" (it's OK - I breed dogs!) is permissible AND accessible that, through a few minutes of "wild passion" a baby is born AND then ABANDONED! For goodness sakes the biological parents have had probably 6 months to find an alternative home for their off-spring! Yes, ENCOURAGEMENT through the hospital/physician, with alternate options, might STOP this horrendous option of abandonment. Doggy Di Masland.

    3rd Dec 2014
    6:52pm
    Get the government to give them free money like the pensioner blugers and we all be right
    particolor
    3rd Dec 2014
    8:51pm
    Stop Shaking while I put Your Flee Powder on !!
    Judy in the hills
    3rd Dec 2014
    7:11pm
    I've always thought the Good Lord made a mistake when he didn't make allowances for the way some poor mothers find they just cannot cope with the very new dependent baby they suddenly are responsible for. Of course I don't know the way around it, but probably many of us have known or had a family member borderline stressed out in the early days of getting used to their new baby. We certainly need more sympathetic and caring and helpful advice to be made available to the lovely women who go through this type of trauma. Mostly they learn soon enough to cope, but there are those who just cannot. And many men can't seem to get involved. Its a delicate time recovering from a baby's arrival.
    student
    6th Dec 2014
    10:26am
    I am sure mothers can remember that horrid time just after giving birth ... the Baby Blues when the tears don't not stop and you are told 'It's just your hormones out of whack'. I agree with your post Judy, thank you for some common sense.

    3rd Dec 2014
    8:56pm
    "atrocious act, monstrous act, horrendous, terrifying, vile & hateful crime". Very descriptive and emotive words without knowing the circumstances Amelia. Sounds nauseatingly precious.
    Mar
    3rd Dec 2014
    9:13pm
    Gillham, I don't think you are comprehending what many are saying here in refute of your comments and that goes for both men and women. Please get help!!
    gillham
    4th Dec 2014
    6:51am
    Mar I do not need help. The women who kill their babies and the people that support them need help. But they also do not need a get out of jail free card on the basis of female purity or impunity.

    Repeat Mar, I'm not the one killing the babies.
    student
    6th Dec 2014
    10:45am
    gill, you may not need help, but you certainly need understanding and compassion.

    Society has let two young women slip through the cracks, and one has been charged with murder. When resources and help is not available, we can not even think what their mental state may be. Sometimes the longing to be loved (I'll have a baby and the Dad will love me. If he doesn't, then the baby will love me) doesn't gell with the realization of caring for and introducing a baby out of wedlock into the family is just too daunting.

    As for the 'Get out of gaol free' card, now you are being sexist :) Have some compassion for these young women. They have to live with their (bad) mistake forever.
    talofa
    4th Dec 2014
    1:58am
    EDUCATION...EASY ABORTION CLINIC....BABYHATCHES....BRAVO I feel sorry for the mother
    gillham
    4th Dec 2014
    7:28am
    A parting comment for Mar.

    On any given day you can walk through a shopping centre and see a mother go into meltdown and abuse a stroller occupied child. I can't recall seeing a father do the same. So the mother has clearly lost control with another innocent, who does not understand the the behemoth that jettisons its own frustrations upon it.

    So my point is sure provide the support mechanisms but, if you kill your child under any circumstances there is no excuse. I'm not sure 'baby hatches ' fit the bill but anything is possible but not the pardon for the despicable act of murder via infanticide.

    I said the same on battered wife syndrome. because we seem to have forgotten that to take anyone else's life when this is again against the very fundamental tenant of human Society.

    Capital punishment by the State has even been removed with the gaining of wisdom.

    Anyhow Mar, you just roll along in your protective female coat professing no accountability, and impunity for women behind some sanctity as pure as the driven snow.

    Now if you find this harsh it needs to be harsh to wake some people up and stop softly tip toeing around the root cause and the protagonists of the inexcusable..
    particolor
    4th Dec 2014
    8:47am
    Beware of Yellow Snow !!
    Anonymous
    4th Dec 2014
    9:52am
    You must be going to very different shopping centres than me gillham. What I see every day is strollers containing screeching mongrels that need a good dose of discipline. No such thing as an "innocent", once you're born you're part of the human rat race for better or worse. There do exist evil children; the Bolger case.
    gillham
    4th Dec 2014
    10:03am
    Give it a break Trood. It certainly is a matter of discipline, which is the parent's responsibility. But no the uncontrolled corporal punishment witnessed. That is discipline that is taught along the way not uncontrolled corporal type venting of frustration. In your cases of example it is a demonstration of bad parenting leading to the child's behaviour. Going ape at the kid is certainly not going to improve the child's subsequent behaviour. But boundaries set from the start may help.
    Radish
    4th Dec 2014
    12:37pm
    If you dont want a child use birth control.
    If you do get pregnant make a decison right from the start. A. keep the baby, B. adopt the baby out.
    Just abandoning a baby is beyond words.
    Adrianus
    6th Dec 2014
    12:19pm
    Not just abandoning the poor little baby, but leaving it in a place to be eaten alive by rats. What kind of person could think of such an act? What kind of logic would exist to think that if we build 500,000 chutes around the country it would stop this sort of act?
    I am quite happy to let the court decide on guilt and sentence. This inhumane act should never be justified to the point that it becomes normal human behaviour.
    How many times has such an act been associated with postpartum psychosis?
    unicorn
    4th Dec 2014
    4:59pm
    Personally. I doubt it it would


    Personally I think it would make little difference in most cases. The Mother in the last 2 cases obviously did not intend anyone to find the child hile it was still alive. So if a hatch or anythig else was closer to the place of birth what good would it do??












    i douby if they woiuld make muc
    Barbara Mathieson
    4th Dec 2014
    6:11pm
    Perhaps we should go back to having adoption process again. A lot of people would love to have a child thereby helping a Mother ( and Father) who may not really want a child yet. Save going overseas also for costly / difficult procedures.
    particolor
    4th Dec 2014
    8:09pm
    I think there are too many Goody Two Shoes who cant mind their own business around these days to ever make sense of anything anymore in this Once Great Land !!.
    You cant do this You cant do that !! Tax This Tax That ?? And all they do is make Governments go Left instead of Right ?? And the Left Right thing there is NOT a Political Statement !!
    Adrianus
    5th Dec 2014
    10:17am
    What has changed in our society that baby chutes are even a consideration? I'm appalled and disgusted by the suggestion. My God, people, have we fallen that far? We don't even have pet chutes for people to leave the family pet pre Christmas. What next? Husband chutes?
    Radish
    5th Dec 2014
    11:41am
    now... husband chutes....mmmmm...now that is a thought ;)
    particolor
    5th Dec 2014
    7:44pm
    Pollychutes !!


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